Be Quiet And Really Listen

I was struck with my monthly bout of insomnia last night, so I woke up this morning feeling groggy and out-of-it. I think I got about 3 hrs of sleep total. Blech.

Much coffee was consumed, and a bowl of oats was made.

In the mix:

  • 1/3 cup Coach’s Oats
  • 2/3 cup water +1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 nanner
  • 1/2T chia seeds
  • raspberry syrup drizzle
  • 10 semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • sliced strawberries
  • coconut sprinkle
  • Bear Fit Naked Vanilla Almond granola sprinkle
  • 1T PB blob.

It was a thing of chocolate-covered berry beauty. Mmmmmm…the combo of the berries and semi-sweet chocolate (used sparingly, I will say) added a nice touch of dessert-like decadence to my bowl! 🙂

After b-fast, I headed out to Central Connecticut State University to attend day 2 of the domestic violence conference I attended yesterday. If possible, the speeches, panels, and workshops were even more intense than those I attended yesterday. While yesterday’s agenda focused on the backgrounds of adult victims, today’s agenda focused on children and domestic violence’s impact on their lives. Needless to say, I think everyone who attended went through the emotional wringer. We heard from several survivors of childhood abuse as well as victim advocates working on their behalf to get their stories told.

I know I normally use this blog to discuss food-related matters, but I just thought I’d share these links with you all in case you’re interested in learning more about some of the topics covered in this conference. These sites provide info on some of the victim’s stories and keynote speaker’s books. Check them out!

  • Melanie Rieger, in whose memory whom the conference was founded. Melanie was killed 10 years ago by her boyfriend. Her family started the conference in the hopes that it may prevent the deaths of other young women and children in abusive relationships.
  • Marylin Gambrell and her foundation No More Victims. I heard this woman talk at her workshop, and she moved me deeply. She is incredibly passionate about helping the children of incarcerated parents to actually do something with their lives. She is amazing and inspirational, and it’s obvious that she truly believes that all children, regardless of their background, have the potential for success.
  • Chip St. Clair and his book The Butterfly Garden. Chip’s story was spellbinding. He grew up with a father who emotionally and physically abused him throughout his child. Later, he came to discover that his father was actually a child serial killer who had been on the run from the law for years. Chip’s journey of healing is one of incredible strength. A true testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome the direst of circumstances.
  • Wally Lamb’s books She’s Come Undone and Couldn’t Keep It To Myself. Wally spoke at the conference about his work helping female prisoners to process their turbulent pasts through writing. The stories he shared with us were deeply troubling. Many of these perpetrators were originally victims of childhood abuse themselves, and their stories detail horrific abuse. By telling these stories and giving a voice to the voiceless, however, Lamb highlights the amazing courage of these women to come forth, tell their stories, and stop the generational cycle of abuse.

Okay, I wil get off my soapbox now. I realize this is an intense subject matter, but I thought some of you might be interested in this information. Issues such as these are a reality when working with the urban poor, as many AmeriCorps volunteers do, and I’m glad I was able to gain more information about them.

One thing that struck me throughout the conference was the victim and victim’s advocates pleas for people to stop talking and to really listen to the victim’s story. Listen to the children of incarcerated parents begging for direction. Listen to the perpetrators even. Just listen.

Listening is one of the biggest things we can do to make others feel validated and of worth. It can set them off on the road to emotional recovery and healing.

It got me to thinking. As a society, we have forgotten the art of listening. How often do most of us really listen to ourselves even? How often do we stop to acknowledge what our bodies may be feeling and what our brains may be thinking?The pace of daily living can be so fast, and it’s easy to become disconnected from others as well as our own bodies. I know because it happens to me more often than I would prefer.

Take this afternoon, for example. Once I came home from the conference, I felt exhausted. Obviously, the emotional material of the conference was exhausting. But I was also operating on three hours of sleep, and I just felt drained. I had planned on going to the gym after the conference…

In the past, I would have forced myself to do the workout if only because I felt like had to. Exercise for me was a way to burn off extra calories I burned that day, nothing more. If I didn’t get in that 45 min of cardio, then oh no! I would call the entire day a waste and eat like crap for the rest of the day. Not today though.

Keeping in mind the theme of listening from the conference, I tried to really listen to my body to figure out what would be best for me. I sat there in stillness and tuned in. I turned off my mind and was quiet for a bit. I let my body speak to me, and it said no. No, you don’t need to workout today. You need to get rest. You need to give yourself some sleep. Missing one workout will not kill you. It will simply provide you the time to rejuvenate and to come back with even more gusto the next time you exercise.

With those feelings acknowledged, I headed to my room and slept for a good hour and a half. It was needed, and I felt much better afterward. I’m glad I was able to listen to those bodily signals rather than suppressing them in the name of calories burned!

Lunch

I’m backtracking a bit. Sorry! Here’s the lunch I enjoyed during the conference today.

Tempeh, avocado, arugula, tomato, and mustard sandwich on Ezekiel sesame bread.

A fab sandwich combo.

With a side of pistachios:

And an apple.

Dinner

After my nap, I felt like rice n’ beans for dinner, specifically brown rice and lima beans! I made a delightfully creamy, veganized version of cheesy rice to accompany my lima beans.

Here’s the recipe for Cheezy Vegan Rice and Beans:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup milk of choice, 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1T butter
  • 2 cups lima beans (or beans of choice)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. To start, mix brown rice, milk, water, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder until fully dissolved in the liquid.
  2. Bring liquid to a boil.
  3. Once a boil has been achieved, reduce heat to a simmer, cover with lid, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Remove rice from heat, and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove cover and fluff with a fork.
  5. Mix in butter, and top each serving with 1/2 cup lima beans.
  6. Garish with red pepper flakes, if desired.

This simple dish was creamy and delicious. Adding nutritional yeast to the rice is a much healthier alternative than dumping in a bunch of cheese into your rice and beans, but it doesn’t sacrifice on the flavor. I will definitely make this again. It’s tough to resist healthy comfort food! 🙂

I had some roasted broccoli and cauliflower on the side.

Great dinner!

I wanted a light dessert tonight. Just a little somethin’ somethin’ to satisfy my sweet tooth, so I ate the last of my blackberries.

Night all! I’m off to decompress from the day’s events.

QUESTION: What’s your favorite way to decompress after a tiring day?

I’m a big fan of baths, listening to relaxing music, and reading!

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5 responses to “Be Quiet And Really Listen

  1. Okay, you deserve major kudos for your sparing use of chocolate in the oatmeal. I occasionally take a few oats with my chocolate, thank you very much.

    Child abuse and domestic violence may be heavy topics, but extremely important ones at that. I’m sure you’ve read the Child Called It / Man Named Dave (and a third I can’t remember the title of) series by Dave Pelzer? They were heartbreaking. Seriously.

    Go take it easy now! You need some lightheartedness…maybe an easy chick flick? I like music and reading as well, but I can’t stand baths! I get antsy after three minutes.

  2. It must have been intense attending that conference!
    I lovveee to get in my pj’s and veg out!

  3. oh no, I hope you get some rest!

  4. Uhh, so trying that “cheesy” rice! Does it really taste cheesy? I have never had nutritional yeast before. So deprived…

    • It doesn’t taste exactly like cheese, but the dish is very creamy and “cheese-like”. Nutritional yeast has an interesting taste. A combination of parmesan cheese and ground nuts is the best way I can describe it. If you buy it, don’t judge it based on the way it smells when you first open it. I thought it smelled like fish food! Lol. But don’t worry, it doesn’t taste that way.

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